At the confluence of the Colorado and Blue rivers sits Kremmling, a tiny ranch community home to a mountainous landscape and myriad opportunities for pulse-quickening adventures.
Come August, this stretch of the Colorado River (about three miles southwest of town) is usually mellow enough for expert rafters set on conquering Gore’s fearsome Class V rapids. Even then, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recommends attempting the challenge with an outfitter. Liquid Descent’s guided six-hour trips meet in Kremmling and hit such thrillers as Tunnel Falls, which sends paddlers over a dramatic 12-foot ledge, and the Class IV, quarter-mile-long Kirshbaum rapids. $160 per person
Gore Canyon Trail
If you’re not quite ready for Class V rapids, admire Gore Canyon’s sheer walls from the safety of dry land. This 2.8-mile out-and-back trail starts at the BLM’s Pumphouse Recreation Site, hugs the shoreline for the first half-mile, and connects several enticing fishing holes (trout are plentiful along this part of the Colorado River). Soon, the path climbs the canyon walls on a narrow, cliff-edge course offering bird’s-eye views of the gorge. Nine miles from CO 9 on Grand County Road 1
Middle Park Fair and Rodeo
The 103rd edition of this Grand County get-together features country crooner Easton Corbin (August 10) and bronc riders. The main attraction, though, might be the Get Smashed Demolition Derby (August 17), in which cars, many decorated for the “best theme” contest, collide in an explosion of mindless—and highly entertaining—destruction. Tickets and schedules at middleparkfairandrodeo.com
Big Shooter Coffee
A mural-size sign depicting an upside-down yellow cow in a coffee cup marks the java shop and bakery where local commuters stop for monstrous breakfast burritos and coffees to go. In the afternoons, hand-dipped ice cream is best savored on the shop’s pine-log front-porch swing. Or sip an Electric Fence—a milkshake spiked with espresso and coffee grounds—while you browse Big Shooter’s eclectic mashup of Nordic skiing memorabilia and taxidermy. 311 Park Ave.
Muddy Creek Cabins
These 10 log abodes (each sleeps four) back up to the eroded cliffs just north of Kremmling and feel like remote backcountry outposts—especially when deer graze within sight of your front porch. Yet they sit only one block from the taps at Grand Adventure Brewing Co. Meander over for a crisp River Ranger Pilsner, then take advantage of your cabin’s picnic table, grill, and campfire to roast s’mores beneath starry skies. From $119; 315 River Lane, muddycreekcabins.com
Middle Park Meat Co.
You expect great steaks in ranch country, and this meat shop delivers. Most of the cuts, such as the aged beef and judiciously seasoned jerky, are sourced from Colorado farms. We recommend picking up a few apple-cured pork chops to toss on the grill. The recipe, developed by Harlan Land (who operated Middle Park Meat Co. from 1975 to 2016), is still used by the current owner. 1107 CO 9
Kremmling Cretaceous Ammonite Locality
About 10 miles north of town, a brief trek up a wind-raked ridge leads to the remnants of gigantic snail-like creatures (called ammonites) scattered across the hillside. These birdbath-size fossils are all that’s left of the mammoth gastropods after primeval seas receded about 72 million years ago. Free; blm.gov